Test Drive column: 2021 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 AWD
Entry price: $36,600
Price as tested: $62,355
This week, we’re behind the wheel of the 2021 Infiniti Q50 sedan, delivered with Infiniti’s powerful Red Sport 400 mechanicals and all-wheel-drive (AWD) underpinnings. Similar to the Q60 Red Sport Coupe we test drove two years ago, this mild-mannered looking sedan turns into a performance brute once you start the engine and its 400 horsepower bellows through the dual exhaust system. You just can’t hide the performance waiting under the hood and the exhaust tone beckons the driver to give it a blip or two before moving forward.
Our Q50 four-door tester offers not only the AWD traction necessary for maneuvering in rough climate driving, it also delivers the ultra-high performance goodies that can take you from zero to 60 in just 4.4 seconds, weather permitting. So, to best describe the Infiniti Red Sport 400 it is an AWD sedan that combines a “normal looking” motif with some serious super high-performance DNA that both Nissan and Infiniti are noted for. Further, it’s a great solution for those that desire real performance yet need AWD traction and four-door convenience.
The “normal” Q50 sedans start at $36,600 and come powered by a 300-horsepower, 295-lb. ft. of torque 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, which in itself is a more than adequate performance car. The previous 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder has been eliminated, which this author feels is an excellent move. The Q50 sedans then graduate through several twin-turbo 3.0 six-cylinder models to arrive at the pinnacle, our Red Sport 400 tester with AWD. Unlike other supposed “twin turbos” that have just one turbo and a turbo assist electric add-on, all of the Infiniti Q50 trims are true twin-turbos that force feed more air and fuel into the combustion chambers.
And it’s under the hood where the recipe for excitement awaits your throttle input. There, these Red Sport twin-turbo V8s are fine-tuned to deliver 400 horsepower and 350 lb. ft. of torque, 100 horses more than the 300-horse version. Infiniti accomplishes this task via two turbo speed sensors, dual water pumps and then tweaking the turbo boost upwards.
Infiniti pushes its performance needle further with these Q50s more so than its previous G35, G37 and Q40 models. They were great cars but always lacked the performance advantage of high-end Japanese competitors like Honda/Acura and Toyota/Lexus. Infiniti thus answers the call with these coupe and sedan Red Sport 400s. Well done Infiniti.
Our tester featured “Intelligent AWD” and a top line Red Sport entry price of $57,750. The rear-wheel-drive Q50 Red Sport 400 sedan starts at $55,750, so you’re paying $2,000 for the right to travel with AWD mechanicals. Both versions come with a high-end Intelligent Shift seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters and automatic downshift rev matching. There are also six different selectable drive modes from economy to performance.
The sport tuned “Dynamic Digital” electronic-shock coil over suspension is fully independent making Q50 Red Sport 400 ready for any roadway. I especially like the winding back roads, although those straightaway full throttle bursts are impressive when the twin-turbos are talking. As for fuel mileage, the Q50 in AWD form delivers 19 city and 26 highway while the rear drive model will do you one better at 20 city and 27 highway. Not surprisingly, Q50 offers comfortable rides on the freeway, too.
Standard on the Red Sport 400 trim is a Bose Performance Series 16-speaker sound system, Apple and Android capability, Infiniti In-Touch with Navigation, Premium Traffic info, Siri Eyes Free and Wi-Fi hotspot. Consumers also receive a two-memory driver comfort system that activates the power tilt and telescopic, power seat, mirror and steering column settings. Also included are enhanced interior ambient lighting, brushed aluminum exhaust tips, power moonroof and special run flat 19-inch tires on special Red Sport aluminum spoke wheels.
Safety is top notch as Red Sport comes standard with all the airbags, traction controls and performance ABS disc brakes with Red Sport 400 red calipers. Also standard are intelligent smart cruise, direct adaptive steering, lane departure with active lane control, distance control assist, high beam assist, hill start assist, front and rear sonar, active trace control, predictive forward collision warning and braking, blind spot assist, backup collision warning and all-around view monitor. Clearly, the 2021 Red Sport 400 comes with every safety feature offered.
Our tester featured a $1,520 Carbon Fiber trim package that adds special mirror covers and a smaller rear deck spoiler. Other options include Infiniti illuminated kick plates for $485, a Cargo Package for $270, Infiniti radiant exterior lighting for $465, and $695 for premium paint. With $1,025 delivery, the final retail came in at $62,355. Your Infiniti dealer is waiting to explain all trims and features when you visit or call.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 112.2-inches, 3,998-lb.curb weight, 37.4-ft. turn radius, 13.5-cu. ft. of cargo space, and a 20-gallon fuel tank.
In ending, the 2021 Q50 Infiniti Red Sport 400 sedan is earning its kudos as a surprise performance car along with sibling Q60 coupe. If you’re looking for exceptional performance and a sedan that wraps driver and passengers in Infiniti opulence, a Red Sport 400 just might be for you. If not, the 300-horsepower Q50 trim is just as nice and some $25K less.
From $36,600 to $62,355, there’s a Q50 midsize sedan waiting for you at your area dealer. Make sure and check for dealer incentives on the new 2021s or perhaps a nice 2020 leftover.
Likes: Real twin-turbo, V6 engines across the line, Infiniti luxury.
Dislikes: Infotainment learning curve, lower trim options costly, small trunk.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at email@example.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.